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First Week of New Congress Delivers Big Pro-Life Wins!

                                                                                                   Photo by Christian Bowen on Unsplash

Less than a week after the 118th Congress got down to business, legislators took three important steps to protect the life of the unborn; they passed a bill protecting babies born alive after an abortion, a measure condemning political violence against pro-life crisis pregnancy centers, and defeated the radical Women’s Health Protection Act that would have legalized abortion up to the point of birth.

Fox News is reporting on the passage of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act by a vote of 220-210 on Wednesday, with all but one Democrat voting “no” on the bill and one Democratic voting “present.” The measure states that any infant born alive following an abortion attempt, or that survives the abortion, is a "legal person for all purposes under the laws of the United States." Doctors and healthcare workers would be required to treat the child as a "reasonably diligent and conscientious healthcare practitioner would render to any other child born alive."

If a child is born alive at an abortion clinic that lacks adequate facilities, the clinic would be responsible for transporting the child to a hospital.

Violators of the law would face a fine or up to five years in prison.

“Every single newborn, regardless the circumstances of their birth, deserves to share the miracle of life and have lifesaving medical care, said Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), a sponsor of the born-alive legislation, to The Hill. “We must act with compassion to protect these little ones and give women a strong support system as they navigate the miracles and challenges of motherhood. This bill will save real lives, and it will give survivors a precious chance to build a future.”

Democrats argued that the bill was unnecessary because infants born alive were already protected under a similar bill passed in 2002 which affords infants born alive the same legal rights as any other individual.

The problem is that the 2002 bill had “no teeth,” said Jill Stanek, a nurse and pro-life activist who has been fighting for the rights of the unborn for more than 25 years. The new bill places civil, criminal, and financial penalties on doctors and staff who don't provide the care a baby born alive needs.

Stanek told Fox about a pivotal moment in her nursing career in 1999 when she was working in Labor and Delivery in an Illinois hospital and learned that it was allowing babies born alive to die. One of those babies was a second-trimester baby with Down’s syndrome.

"He was about 22 or 23 weeks old. He was about the size of my hand,” she said. “I'm here on behalf of that little baby I held. I couldn't bear the thought of him dying alone, so I cradled him and rocked him for the 45 minutes he lived, and that was a life-changing event."

Even though the new law is not expected to pass in the Senate, during the debate Democrats motioned to kill the bill and to instead approve and move forward on the radical Women’s Health Protection Act. If passed, this measure would allow abortion up to the point of birth and overturn every pro-life law in the country. This would include all parental and informed consent laws, forcing taxpayers to fund abortion, stripping Catholic hospitals that do not perform abortions of their federal funding, and forcing doctors and nurses who oppose abortion to lose their jobs if they refused to participate in the procedure.

Congress voted on the bill and it was defeated with all but one Republican voting against it and all Democrats but one voting for it.

This past week also saw the passage of a resolution that “condemns recent attacks of vandalism, violence, and destruction against pro-life facilities” while recognizing “the sanctity of life and the important role of pro-life facilities, groups, and churches play in supporting pregnant women, infants, and families."

The resolution passed with a vote of 222-209.

As Fox reports, “The resolution is a response to the wave of political violence targeting pro-life centers and churches that erupted last year after the U.S. Supreme Court's Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked on May 2. More than 100 crisis pregnancy centers, pro-life organizations and churches were firebombed, smashed, ransacked, or vandalized with pro-abortion graffiti and threatening messages.”

Republican Mike Johnson of Louisiana sponsored the bill which calls upon the Biden administration to enforce the law and protect pro-life groups from violence.

"Since there has been so little accountability for the leaked draft Dobbs opinion and ensuing violence and intimidation against pro-lifers, we are making the position of Congress crystal clear," Johnson said in a statement. "Violence, property damage, threats, and intimidation tactics must be condemned, and these clear violations of federal and state laws must be prosecuted. I thank Speaker McCarthy and our entire House Republican leadership team for making this resolution one of the first priorities of the 118th Congress."

Democrats criticized the bill because it did not condemn similar violence against abortion clinics. However, according to FBI Director Christopher Wray, 70 percent of abortion-related violence since the Dobbs decision has been against pro-life organizations.

It was a busy week for the new pro-life House of Representatives – and a very good week for the unborn and those who fight for their right to life!

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